Monday, March 26, 2012

Winning Against Really Good Debaters

Today I learned that two novice kids in my club recently beat a really, really good team at a debate tournament. Man, I was proud of them. That is a good feeling. When you beat a good team or LDer, no one asks about your speaker points. They're not concerned with responses you made in other rounds. They don't even care if you didn't get a winning record and checkmark. All that matters is, wow! You beat ____-_____, and they won a tournament or something! Wow!
Then everyone high-fives you and gives you hugs and chocolate.
Well, not chocolate. That would be cool. If I had an M&M for every time I beat a good team, I'd have, like, more than one M&M. It'd be great. I would eat them in a bowl of peanut butter ice cream.
Anyway, besides the hypothetical chocolate rewards, another super cool benefit of beating a good team is that your nerves were for nothing. My debate partner always got nervous really easily. I think his thought process went something like, "Oh no! That team is composed of debaters! They must be good." or maybe "Oh no! They each have a last name. We're going to lose." or perhaps "Oh no! They probably have evidence. We're literally going to die." Like I said, nervous easily. To his credit, it never showed in the round. You can imagine that whenever we hit teams with lots of evidence and recognizable last names accompanying their pretty strong reputation, he was a lot more nervous. I had to pretend like I wasn't so that our team wouldn't utterly collapse, but I was a little nervous too. In a good way, I guess. It was nice the few times when we hit really good teams and found out upon receiving our ballots that we had somehow gone against the odds and picked up the victory. 
Another advantage is an extreme burst in confidence. When you win a round, especially against a team you felt you should've lost to, you're going to feel better about your self and your apparently-mad skills as a debater. The same goes for speech. If you get a high rank in a room where you know some seriously incredible competitors also were speaking, you get to feel awesome. 
Another element that boosts your confidence is the way your teammates treat you. Yes, we all applauded that novice team that had that unlikely yet evidently warranted victory against that one awesome team. When I was in a similar boat once, some of my well-meaning teammates tried to exaggerate the situation. "Is it true that you kept ____-______ from going 4-2?" they asked. While I wished we could've taken responsibility, I had to reply that, no, they still went 4-2, and keeping them from a higher record was obviously not a single-handed effort. The kids may have been a bit disappointed, but hey. I'm thrilled they thought so highly of me. 
We try to be humble and not expect to win. But we do our best anyway. It's so cool when that pays off. Debate records, RFDs and all else aside, if you captured a ballot against a team that no one expect your mom thought you capable of beating, you win and stuff. Congratulations. Soon you'll be one of those great teams and we'll all be so proud.   
You're homeschooled. You win at life in general.

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